PUBLIC RELATION

11 06 2008

 

 

1)

 

One of the earliest definitions of PR was created by Edward Bernays. According to him, “Public Relations is a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interest of an organization followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”
Today “Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization’s ability to strategically listen to, appreciate, and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values.” (Robert L. Heath, Encyclopedia of Public Relations).

Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.

There is a school of public relations that holds that it is about relationship management. Phillips, explored this concept in his paper “Towards relationship management: Public relations at the core of organisational development” paper in 2006 which lists a range of academics and practitioners who support this view.

 

2)

 

What Is Public Relations? “Public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends” – Scott Cutlip Public relations, byname PR, is an aspect of communications involving the relations between an entity subject, to, or seeking public attention of the various publics that are, or may be interested in it. The entity seeking attention may be a business corporation, an individual politician, a performer or author, a government or government agency, a charitable organisation, a religious body, or almost any other person or organisation. The publics may include segments as narrow as female voters of a particular political party who are between 35 and 50 years of age or the shareholders in a particular corporation; or the publics may be as broad as any national population or the world at large. The concerns of public relations operate both ways between the subject entity, which may be thought of as the client, and the publics involved. The important elements of public relations are to acquaint the client with the public conceptions of the client and to affect these perceptions by focusing, curtailing, amplifying, or augmenting information about the client as it is conveyed to the publics. Public relations encompasses a variety of marketing activities that strengthen organisations credibility, enhance organisations image and develop goodwill. These are usually targeted directly at an audience, such as speeches, special events, newsletters, and annual reports. A public relation involves communicating who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you make a difference. The difference between publicity and public relations The term’s public relations and publicity are often misused. They are not interchangeable. Publicity is only one function of public relations. It is media coverage i.e. news stories, feature articles, talk show interviews, editorials and reviews. Other commonly confused terms are publicity and advertising. The key distinction is you pay for advertising. Because publicity is free, it is more credible and more likely to have an impact on the reader or viewer. Advertising is generally not considered a public relations function. According to the Public Relations Institute of America: Public relations is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain understanding between an organisation and its public (Malan and L’Estrange, 1981). PR is a broad and complex activity although its basic objective is simple: to communicate in order to achieve understanding through knowledge. Consequently, PR exists, liked or not, and all modern organisations, because of their size and complexity, need and are concerned with PR. Good PR with the conscious effort to inform and be informed provides knowledge, understanding, goodwill and a good reputation. PR exists to keep institutions alert to an ever-shifting environment of circumstance and public opinion. PR is an on-going activity, hence the word sustained in the definition. It must anticipate problems and eliminate causes before problems arise.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC RELATION, ADVERTISEMENT AND IMAGE BUILDING?

Marketing is an umbrella – and underneath this umbrella are all the business activities necessary to take a product from you – the business owner – and get it into the hands of the customer. So, underneath that umbrella there may be things like:

 

Product development

Market research

Strategic planning

Public Relations

Advertising

Copywriting

Distributions

Your website

Sale

… and more.

 

Public relations – should actually be called media relations. It’s all about getting you, your company or your products in the media. That means an author talking about their book on a radio talk show. A segment about a new software featured on a business show on CNN. A starlet getting an article about her in People. And on and on. Fully 75% of what we read as “news” is actually generated through public relations as investigative journalism barely exists anymore.

Advertising – is paid space in the media. A space ad purchased in your local newspaper. A TV commercial. A banner bought and paid for on a highly-trafficked website.

Image building – is also known as “branding” – and it’s ALL of it. All of the marketing activities sort of rolled together into a perception of your business. It’s everything that has to do with the “look” and “feel” of your business – visually, verbally and non-verbally. So it can also have to do with the quality of your products and the customer service you provide, too. When people think about your company – what do they think? That’s your image.

HOW DOES CORPORATE COMMUNICATION DIFFER FROM PUBLIC RELATION?

Corporate communications is the process of facilitating information and knowledge exchanges with internal and key external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. It is concerned with internal communications management from the standpoint of sharing knowledge and decisions from the enterprise with employees, suppliers, investors and partners. Examples include:

* Enterprises use annual reports as corporate communications tools to convey information related to results, processes and relationships of the enterprise. Typically, these communications occur on a yearly basis.

* Corporations use electronic and print newsletters to share corporate diversity hiring practices and information on new hires.

* Enterprises use corporate Intranets to create a corporate communication platforms to formalize processes around announcing requests to supplies to submit RFPs.

In corporate communications the object of communications work is company/enterprise itself as opposed to marketing communications where the object of communications is product/produce or service provided by the company/enterprise. The aim of corporate communications is building company’s reputation among its stakeholders (as opposed to brand building in marketing communications).

 

Corporate communications may include:

* Analyst relations

* Internal communications

* Investor relations;

* Corporate governance (communications aspects of corporate governance);

* Issue management;

* Change management (communications aspects of growth management, mergers and acquisitions etc.);

* Corporate social responsibility;

* Litigation (communications on/around litigation);

* Crisis communications etc.

Public relations is an art, technique or profession of promoting such goodwill, that is exactly what a public relations firm does. It is a company that specializes in promoting news. A PR firm could do this for another company, brand or individual.

The term Public Relations was first used by the US President Thomas Jefferson during his address to Congress in 1807 (in this use, however, the intended meaning seems to be closer to “policy” than the implication of communications central to the contemporary definition).

Examples/users of public relations include:

* Corporations using marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products they manufacture or services they provide to potential customers in order to support their direct sales efforts. Typically, they support sales in the short to long term, establishing and burnishing the corporation’s branding for a strong, ongoing market.

* Corporations using public relations as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians, in seeking favorable tax, regulatory, and other treatment. Moreover, they may use public relations to portray themselves as enlightened employers, in support of human-resources recruiting programs.

* Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and social service agencies: such organizations may make use of public relations in support of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.

* Politicians aiming to attract votes and/or raise money. When such campaigns are successful at the ballot box, this helps in promoting and defending their service in office, with an eye to the next election or, at a career’s end, to their legacy.

Today “Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization’s ability to strategically listen to, appreciate, and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values.” (Robert L. Heath, Encyclopedia of Public Relations).

Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.

There is a school of public relations that holds that it is about relationship management. Phillips, explored this concept in his paper “Towards relationship management: Public relations at the core of organisational development”


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